Why Do So Many People Use A Tube Screamer?, Especially High Gain Fans
Todd Simpson
Mar 5 2020, 03:05 AM
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You've seen them on every pedal board on earth. In addition, you've seen them in just about every guitar amp / fx sim in plugin and hardware form. It's often copied in both software and hardware. Just about every multi fx unit sports some sort of Tube Screamer clone. With varying degrees of success. They started out as being just about required gear for anyone using a tube amp and there is a pretty simple reason for it. In very simple terms, in many higher gain tube amps, the Bass frequencies tend to "Bunch Up" when the volume and gain are both set at a high level. So by the time you crank your Marshall or your Orange Tube amp up all the way to get that sweet gain out of it, things get very bassy and boomy.

One very easy way to sort this tone issue out, is to simply add a tube screamer. There is a good bit of audio magic going on inside the tube screamer. Perhaps the primary bit of magic is that, when engaged, the tube screamer acts as a "High Pass Filter" (In other words it lets the treble pass through and puts the brakes on bass at a certain point). So where does the tube screamer start cutting off bass? It's around 700 Hz. This is where some folks use an E.Q. before going in to an amp for the same purpose. The sonic effect of this is that it makes the sound less boomy and makes it sound much more "tight". This comes in very handy on a tube amp which can be prone to be too bassy at high volume/gain.

Without getting too technical, this is really the point of the tube screamer. It tightens up one's tone by cutting of bass below about 700 hz. Not every overdrive works this way. Some let all of the signal pass through. These don't do the same thing as a tube screamer. Also, a bit more processing magic results in a "Mid Boost" which helps a guitar solo stand out live and in a mix. The original pedals have become so popular that they are now sometimes priced very very high. I would not suggest paying a lot of money for a screamer. I have tried many clones from various vendors and have have good results with builds by JOYO and MOOER.

I would not suggest you spend wild money trying to buy an original screamer. It's a great pedal, but collectors and gear snobs have pushed the price up to a pretty nutty level. As always, trust your ears. You can find used screamer clone pedals for very reasonable prices.

There are so many Tube Screamers made by Ibanez, it can be confusing which one to get. As a general rule, the original ts808 and TS9 are sturdy hand built pedals. Later versions like the sound tank use machine soldering and plastic out shells. As many folks know, MAXON built the original screamers and used better components than some versions built past the ts9.

I use a tube screamer on every patch I build. On my OVERLOUD THU patches, Ampero Patches, 11 Rack Patches, etc. It does a great job of "prepping" the signal for a high gain or even mid gain amp/head whether in software or hardware.

Lately, a new wide body, hand wired, tube screamer was released and it was pricey. If you want one, go for it, but honestly, Id say save your money and just get a joyo/mooer clone if you can't find a cheap used pre ts10 tube screamer.

Here is a great video with tons of details on the history of the screamer.

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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Mar 5 2020, 03:09 AM

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Potsau
Mar 5 2020, 04:59 AM
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Ah thx for that Information 👏. I have sn original and i know the problem of tat bassy sht. This week I connected the screamer at the fx loop. K think its better for front loop.

Amp - Channel - Screamer - Output.
Is that right?

Seems like i got the 84 version

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This post has been edited by Potsau: Mar 5 2020, 05:04 AM


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Kristofer Dahl
Mar 5 2020, 07:58 AM
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Yeah! Such a classic. Some things that I have realised through the years:

* in contrast to an EQ pedal, the TS reshapes the signal. This means that it adds overtones that were not there in the first place. Not only does this add to the tone in a way the an EQ can't do, but it also means you can do more aggressive tone sculpturing.

* As mentioned, the reason the TS is popular is because it is simple to use and solves two very common problems: too much bass in the signal, and not enough midrange to cut through.

* Once I realised the above I started preferring overdives with more options for tone sculpturing. Especially for breakup lead tones.

QUOTE (Potsau @ Mar 5 2020, 04:59 AM) *
Ah thx for that Information 👏. I have sn original and i know the problem of tat bassy sht. This week I connected the screamer at the fx loop. K think its better for front loop.

Amp - Channel - Screamer - Output.
Is that right?

Seems like i got the 84 version


This is def worth testing - but is likely to produce very different result than placing it before the preamp.

When you remove low end (which is what the TS does) before the amp you typically get a less compressed and more dynamic tone. This is because bass frequencies carry the most volume even though it's not always perceivable by the ear. All that low end volume can cause the amp to distort even though you might not think you are hitting the strings very hard.

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Potsau
Mar 5 2020, 08:47 AM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Mar 5 2020, 07:58 AM) *
Yeah! Such a classic. Some things that I have realised through the years:

* in contrast to an EQ pedal, the TS reshapes the signal. This means that it adds overtones that were not there in the first place. Not only does this add to the tone in a way the an EQ can't do, but it also means you do more aggressive tone sculpturing.

* As mentioned, the reason the TS is popular is because it is simple to use and solves two very common problems: too much bass in the signal, and not enough midrange to cut through.

* Once I realised the above I started preferring overdives with more options for tone sculpturing. Especially for breakup lead tones.



This is def worth testing - but is likely to produce very different result than placing it before the preamp.

When you remove low end (which is what the TS does) before the amp you typically get a less compressed and more dynamic tone. This is because bass frequencies carry the most volume even though it's not always perceivable by the ear. All that low end volume can cause the amp to distort even though you might not think you are hitting the strings very hard.



So then I Plant the ts before the HighGain Input. That means before the preamp?

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Kristofer Dahl
Mar 5 2020, 09:28 AM
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Like this:

Guitar > TS > Amp

(before your signal enters the amp)

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Potsau
Mar 5 2020, 09:52 AM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Mar 5 2020, 09:28 AM) *
Like this:

Guitar > TS > Amp

(before your signal enters the amp)


Nice 😍 Thank you. Its a Problem that gives me torture over years. Cant get trough Bass and Voice in frequencies. In two weeks I can Try out this nice mine.

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Todd Simpson
Mar 5 2020, 06:43 PM
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Some great posts and feedback on this one! I agree with Kris all the way.

Guitar/screamer/amp is the traditional method. Turn the gain on the pedal to zero and volume to near max and tone knob to 6 or 8. This will create a "clean boost" and trim off unwanted bass.

Todd


QUOTE (Potsau @ Mar 5 2020, 04:52 AM) *
Nice 😍 Thank you. Its a Problem that gives me torture over years. Cant get trough Bass and Voice in frequencies. In two weeks I can Try out this nice mine.

You are at GuitarMasterClass.net


Don't miss today's free lick. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!

Don't miss today's free blues, jazz & country licks. Plus all our lessons are packed with free content!
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